Civil Beat: Banks and Developers ‘help to fund a lot of stories’
Rail: Tupola to Confer with Federal Transit Administration
HART Wastes Rail Money on Kam Hwy Repave that Could be Funded by HDOT
More Traffic Jams Coming--Creation of Oahu’s First Pedestrian Plan underway
A Veterans Day Salute
OHA manage Mauna Kea better? Not!
SA: The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is suing to get the state to end its lease of Mauna Kea summit lands to the University of Hawaii.
It isn’t the only critic. Auditors also have found UH stewardship lacking where its astronomy facilities are located. OHA noted those reports in its complaint in state Circuit Court, apparently unimpressed by UH efforts to improve. But who could better manage the mountain? Why, the agency wrote in a white paper more than a year ago, OHA could.
Given its own record of tumult over many years, that might be the tougher case to make…..
OHA Land & Asset Management Record:
read … Could OHA manage Mauna Kea better?
Kauai Court Ruling: One more step towards mandatory EIS for Farmers
KGI: …A lawsuit calling for environmental review of seed company operations was dismissed by Judge Randal Valenciano on Thursday.
Syngenta isn’t proposing any new uses for the land they operate on Kauai’s Westside, and with no change in use, Valenciano ruled that the state need not require an environmental impact statement or environmental assessment of their actions.
But Valenciano did rule that the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act does apply to companies like Syngenta when they propose new operations.
“There’s no indication that there’s going to be a change in the use,” Valenciano said on Thursday. “No evidence that the action has changed.”
Defendants Syngenta and the state Board of Land and Natural Resources both said they are encouraged by the decision, and plaintiffs said they plan to appeal….
Plaintiffs in the case are the community hui Ke Kauhulu O Mana, the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action, Surfrider Foundation, Kohola Leo and Kekaha resident Punohu Kekaualua III.
And though plaintiffs are disappointed with the overall ruling, they pointed to a silver lining in Valenciano’s decision regarding HEPA’s application to Syngenta operations.
“This means leases for any new or expanded operations in the future will be required to go through an environmental review process,” said Gary Hooser, president of the HAPA.
(Clue: This is much bigger than the Sygenta ‘victory.’)
The lawsuit stemmed from a February 2017 BLNR decision to consolidate two parcels of land leased by Syngenta under one Revocable Permit.
Plaintiffs alleged that BLNR violated Hawaii laws by failing to require an EA or EIS for the use of the lands, by approving the exemption from environmental document preparation, by relying on an outdated conservation use permit that was issued for a different use, and by violating the duty to protect public trust resources.
Precedence for the case was the recent Supreme Court Umberger decision, that looked at commercial aquarium collection permits, ultimately determining that the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources is subject to the environmental review procedures under HEPA….
(Question: When do you start fighting this? Answer: Now.)
HR: “We celebrate the affirmation of state law HRS 343,” say plaintiffs.
read … An Article Entitled: 'Court rules in favor of state, Syngenta'
BLNR: A&B Can Divert Water for Another Year
CB: (Anti-Superferry activist) Lucienne de Naie is not happy. The longtime East Maui resident flew (no ferry available) all the way to Oahu to try and convince a state board to stop Alexander & Baldwin from diverting water from East Maui streams.
But the Board of Land and Natural Resources voted unanimously Thursday to continue allowing the company to divert up to 80 million gallons of water per day for the next year.
In January 2016, a judge ruled that A&B shouldn’t have diverted millions of gallons of water since 2001. State lawmakers responded that year by passing legislation to allow the company to keep doing so, subject to annual permits.
A&B and its many supporters testified that the water is essential to ensure that the company’s land remains in agriculture and help serve numerous farmers, residents and businesses who rely on it….
read … Wait 'til next year
Kealohas to get court-appointed attorneys in public corruption case
SA: Former Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha and his city deputy prosecutor wife Katherine Kealoha will receive court-appointed attorneys in their public corruption case as early as next week, a federal judge ruled today after discussing the couple’s financial situation with them in private.
Hawaii Chief District Judge J. Michael Seabright closed his court room for about 20 minutes today — and even excluded the U.S. attorneys prosecuting the power couple — to go over the Kealohas’ financial disclosures that they filed this morning.
After reopening his court room, Seabright said he will assign the Kealohas new attorneys from a pre-approved list of Hawaii attorneys who would be paid at court rates.
Seabright said he hopes to have attorneys appointed by “Monday or Tuesday next week.”
read … Kealohas to get court-appointed attorneys in public corruption case
Despite high-profile sweep, parts of Nimitz Viaduct still overrun with Tweekers
HNN: As crews hired by the state work to clear massive piles of garbage from one side of the Nimitz viaduct, many of the squatters who created that mess are making themselves at home on the opposite side….
Councilman Joey Manahan represents the district, and said he was surprised to find out the portion of the viaduct that runs parallel to the Mapunapuna bike path won't be included in the current sweep.
"I would think that if the department was going to sweep the area they would sweep the entire area," said Manahan.
Over the past couple weeks the number of people living there has exploded. The camp is now spilling out from under the bridge onto the bike path.
"It's completely covered by tents and dwellings. It's a dangerous area," said Manahan.
A year ago, the Department of Transportation spent $318,000 to clean up the area and build a chain link fence in an effort to keep illegal campers from trespassing.
"At this point the fence is no longer a deterrent. In fact it's part of the encampments," said Manahan.
The state DOT declined an on-camera interview for this story, but told Hawaii News Now via email it hopes to expand enforcement to include additional HDOT property next year.
"No business owner would want that in their backyard," said Kaleo Alau.
Meanwhile, the owner of the nearby U-Haul continues to have run-ins with his neighbors.
Since the start of the year thieves have stolen 42 batteries out of his trucks. He also has to replace 18 gas tanks after crooks drilled holes in them to steal gas…..
read … Despite high-profile sweep, parts of Nimitz Viaduct still overrun with squatters
Homeless Person Lucky to be Arrested
KGI: My angel at the bus stop fronting the Kapaa Neighborhood Center was arrested last Thursday, Nov. 2, for open lewdness for being exposed while cleansing her body under a tarp that had blown away. El Aina has lived at that bus stop the last 11 months.
She eats there, bathes there and discreetly performs her bodily functions there. After being arrested a water truck was there spraying and disinfecting the area at county expense.
I was happy for my friend after she was arrested I finally thought she would get the help she so desperately needs — however, now she is back at the bus stop after the minimum 48-hour incarceration period.
El Aina was sent to the hospital and medical professionals found nothing wrong with her besides diarrhea.
You can physically look at my friend and see her legs and feet are inflated like balloons, four to five times their normal size. She cannot even walk across the street to the Chinese restaurant on her own since her legs are in such pain.
Plus, anyone living at a bus stop needs help, in my opinion. This does not take a medical degree to diagnose her. These doctors should have their licenses revoked as far as I’m concerned. The judge released her without prejudice.
Political correctness will not improve the situation for this lovely angel….
read … But Released 48 Hrs Later
HCDA: Five Years of Homeless Failures
SA: …there have been failures, too, in recent months. Continuous vandalism by homeless groups camping within some of this recreational area forced the closure of three Kakaako parks: Waterfront, Gateway and Kewalo Basin.
HCDA closed them Oct. 8 to eject 180 squatters in the wake of fires and attacks by the campers’ dogs. Additionally, and most distressingly, the homeless had tapped into utilities, and the damage to water and power lines and light fixtures was estimated at $500,000.
Gov. David Ige, who had been celebrating the work done by the state’s relatively new homeless shelter nearby, was compelled to hire private security for enforcement, ineffectively handled under HCDA.
The responsibility to solve the state’s homeless crisis surely doesn’t fall on HCDA, but the agency does have custody of facilities that need better protection.
One especially lamentable victim has been the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center, which has contended with vandalism by some from the neighboring homeless encampments. The Ohe Street attraction has dealt with the abuse for several years, a woeful outcome considering that the children’s museum was seen as a positive element in the revitalization of the waterfront area to begin with.
This problem, as well as a lingering dispute between Kewalo Harbor businesses and the hired management firm, need to be handled competently, as do all of HCDA’s oversight responsibilities….
read … Strong leadership needed for HCDA
‘Good’ roads not DOT’s goal statewide
SA: The ratings signify how a stretch of state road feels to someone driving or riding on it, based on the amount of rutting, cracking and faulting. The map of state roadways in the main Hawaiian Islands is color-coded: Green means good, yellow fair and red poor.
“In layman’s terms, ‘good’ roads are those that are smooth with few bumps or depressions; ‘fair’ roads are comfortable with intermittent bumps or depressions; and ‘poor’ roads are uncomfortable with frequent bumps or depressions,” said Shelly Kunishige, a spokeswoman for the DOT.
The evaluations “do not necessarily tie into the structural integrity of the roadway, but the evaluation criteria can serve as an indicator of future deterioration,” she said.
For example, rutting — a depression in the road caused by wheel wear — can lead to cracking, which can lead to potholes. Faulting, a difference in height between pavement sections, indicates heavy traffic loads and potential deterioration.
Q: Looking at the map, there are hardly any “good” roads. Only the Big Island has a long line of green (good). Oahu has a little green, some red (poor) and mostly yellow (fair). Is DOT trying to get to green statewide?
A: No, that would be too costly and mean upgrading roads that are safe to drive, if not perfectly smooth, according to the DOT. Intermediate measures, such as sealants, can help maintain acceptable conditions without allowing a road to worsen.
“HDOT is in the process of implementing a pavement-management system to efficiently use our limited road maintenance assets. Having all roads in ‘good’ condition would necessitate reconstructing or resurfacing roads before getting full value from the installed pavement and treatments such as crack or fog seal,” Kunishige said.
“Treatments such as various types of seals, depending on the road-condition factors, will ensure a more economical and efficient use of resources toward maintaining (a roadway) over the long term, instead of allowing it to deteriorate into poor condition and then having to do a costly full reconstruction or rehabilitation.” …
read … ‘Good’ roads are too costly to be DOT’s goal statewide
Hawaii Regulates Manicurists And Bartenders — Why Not Midwives?
CB: …The issue is so thorny that attempts to regulate people without nursing licenses who help deliver babies have failed repeatedly — in 1998, 2014, 2016 and earlier this year. Now, as the 2018 session approaches, there’s another push to regulate the practice of midwifery led by the Midwives Alliance of Hawaii.
Doctors who generally support regulation point to what they say are needless medical emergencies and even infant deaths….
Related: DOLPHIN-ASSISTED CHILDBIRTH IS A BAD IDEA
read … Midwives